A small group of Swedish believers began meeting at a Woburn home in May of 1884 and eventually organized a church. The church was incorporated in 1889, bearing the name “Scandinavian Evangelical Free Church.” During 1894 a building was dedicated at the comer of Montvale and Greenwood Avenues in Woburn.
Several men pastored the church over the years until 1936, when Carlton Helgerson of Cranston, R.I., was called. Rev. Carlton Helgerson served continuously and with distinction until his retirement in September 1992. Gradually under his ministry of Bible exposition, the church broadened its vision and moved away from its ethnic emphasis. This was reflected in 1950 by a change of name to “The Church of the Open Bible,” previously used as a slogan.
As membership and ministries grew, it became necessary to seek larger facilities, but extensive studies precluded expansion at the original site. In 1958 Mrs. Agda J. Thistle presented the church with a gift of valuable land in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hakan Johnson. This land consists of 3.4 acres in Burlington on the corner of Winn and Wyman Streets at the Woburn line. On May 6, 1961, a new building was dedicated. More land was donated in 1964, this time a parcel on the opposite side of Wyman Street. As the church continued its growth, it became necessary in 1965 to construct a three-story, multipurpose educational wing. Three years later, Pastor Helgerson's oldest son, John, was called to serve as Assistant Pastor. In 1976 the church started a day school, the Open Bible Academy. The Academy started with grades one through ten, and gradually it grew to be kindergarten through the twelfth grade.
During 1973 the church underwent still another expansion program that included: purchase of 10,000 square feet of land, widening the sanctuary to seat 700, adding 2000 square feet of multipurpose room, acquiring an electronic organ, installing air conditioning, providing a self-service elevator that accommodates wheelchairs, and expanding parking facilities with extensive landscaping. In September 1992, coinciding with the retirement of Carlton Helgerson and following 24 years of faithful service as the assistant pastor, Rev. John C. Helgerson was called as pastor. Rev. John F. Peront was called as Assistant Pastor in 1994 and served for eight years. On December 29, 2002 Rev. William L. Krawczyk was installed as Assistant Pastor. Pastor John Helgerson retired as the pastor on March 31, 2004 after having served the assembly for 36 years. Pastor William Krawczyk, was called on June 8, 2004 to become pastor and served faithfully until February 1, 2011.
The Church of the Open Bible has an active membership of about 180. Offering a practical Bible teaching program, people are drawn from some distance, as well as from the Burlington-Woburn vicinity.